Jonathan P. Mogck, petitioner, Respondent,
Barbara L. Mogck, n/k/a Barbara Bandy-Alms, Appellant
Hennepin County District Court File No. 27-FA-000294301 Rodenberg, Judge
Marc A. Johannsen, Kay Nord Hunt, Lommen, Abdo, Cole, King & Stageberg, P.A., Minneapolis, Minnesota (for respondent)
Sharon Herland Ysebaert, Eastlund, Solstad, Cade & Hutchinson, Savage, Minnesota (for appellant)
Considered and decided by Connolly, Presiding Judge; Stoneburner, Judge; and Rodenberg, Judge.
On appeal in this child-support- and spousal-maintenance-modification dispute, appellant-mother argues that the district court (1) should have applied the doctrine of collateral estoppel to preclude relitigation of the child-support and spousal-maintenance modification to the extent that respondent-father's current motion was based on issues decided in his prior motion; (2) misread the underlying support award, thereby misidentifying the baseline circumstances against which claims of substantially changed circumstances should properly be measured; and, (3) should not have allowed the failure to achieve certain circumstances expected by the parties to satisfy the requirement of substantially changed circumstances. We affirm as modified.
Appellant Barbara Mogck n/k/a Barbara Bandy-Alms and respondent Jonathan Mogck were married in 1981. The parties separated in 2002, and the marriage was dissolved by judgment and decree entered July 19, 2005. Bandy-Alms and Mogck have four children together. One of the children, born October 6, 1995, was a minor at the time the marriage was dissolved.
At the time the judgment and decree was entered, Mogck was employed by Compass Marketing. The judgment and decree provided that Mogck was earning at least $240, 000 annually and that his monthly living expenses were $6, 578. Bandy-Alms was not employed outside the home at the time, and the monthly living expenses of Bandy-Alms and the minor child were $8, 080. The parties had debt totaling $145, 859. Of that debt, Mogck was assigned responsibility for $83, 173, and Bandy-Alms was assigned responsibility for $55, 380. The remainder was to be paid out of a joint escrow account. The parties were granted joint legal custody of the minor child and Bandy-Alms was granted sole physical custody. Mogck was ordered to pay $1, 997 per month in child support and $6, 000 per month in permanent spousal maintenance. By agreement incorporated into the judgment and decree, Mogck could seek modification of his child-support and spousal-maintenance obligations only if his earnings amounted to less than $200, 000.
In October 2007, Mogck voluntarily left his job with Compass due to the economic downturn. In 2007, Mogck earned $510, 832. In 2008, Mogck was self-employed and earned $106, 786. In 2009, Mogck unilaterally reduced his child-support and spousal-maintenance payments and accumulated $64, 127 in arrearages.
In June 2009, Mogck moved the district court to modify his child support and spousal maintenance, claiming he was entitled to a modification based on changed circumstances due to a substantial decrease in income. In an order dated November 2009, the district court denied Mogck's motion, finding that his decision to leave Compass was in bad faith, that he failed to show that he was making sufficient efforts to obtain a higher paying job to meet his obligation, and that he needed to further reduce his monthly expenses before requesting a reduction in his support obligations.
Mogck appealed. In July 2010, during the pendency of the appeal, the parties entered into a stipulated agreement and the appeal was dismissed. The stipulation required Mogck to, among other things, pay Bandy-Alms
• $500 per month in child support and pay no spousal maintenance from January 1, 2010, through March 2010;
• $600 per month for child support and $600 per month for spousal maintenance from April ...